Jenni is a ‘ghost’: she writes the lives of other people. It’s a job that suits her well: still haunted by a childhood tragedy, she finds it easier to take refuge in the memories of others rather than dwell on her own. Jenni has an exciting new commission, and is delighted to start working on the memoirs of a Dutchwoman, Klara. As a child in the Second World War, Klara was interned in a camp on Java during the Japanese occupation – she has an extraordinary story of survival to tell. But as Jenni and Klara begin to get to know each other, Jenni begins to do much more than shed light on a neglected part of history. She is being forced to examine her own devastating memories, too. But with Klara’s help, perhaps this is finally the moment where she will be able to lay the ghosts of her own past to rest?
Ghostwritten is the first book I have read by Isabel Wolff, I was intrigued by this book as Ghost Writers have always interested me, but I have never really enjoyed historical fiction so I was unsure how I was going to get on with this book as it talks of the Second World War.
Jenni is a Ghost Writer who has agreed to write the memoires of Klara who is reaching her 80th birthday and so she feels it is time to tell her story of her childhood years spent in the Second World War As Klara opens up to Jenni the pair soon become comfortable with each other to open up about the secrets that both of them hold from their pasts.
I was so immersed in this storyline that I couldn’t put it down. The beginning of the book was typical for the usual books I read, light hearted with a troubled romance and hidden secrets which I love and as the book progressed it then began to change path and as Klara began to tell her story of life living through the Second World War the storyline grew deeper and took a more serious and meaningful path. I have never been one that showed much interest in history but this book really touched me and I found that I had many questions in my mind as I was reading about the events that Klara mentioned. The author has quite clearly taken extensive research for this book and also her descriptive writing made this book feel so real.
Although both Klara and Jenni are main characters and both have a story in their past to tell it was Klara that really shone for me in this book she was such a homely, intelligent and brave character and from the moment we are introduced to her character we warm to her. Jenni is still a great character but she didn’t seem to drop her barriers even after she reveals her secret so I didn’t warm to her like I did Klara.
This is a poignant, compelling read that will stay in my mind for a long time yet and I have found another great author to add to my favourites.